Saamai (Little Millet)- Nutrition, Benefits and Recipe

Samai (Panicum sumatrense), known as little millet, is a species of millet in the family Poaceae. This cereal is similar in habit to the proso millet except that it is smaller. These are distributed across the temperate zones of Asia: the Caucasus, China, East Asia, and also in the tropics of the continent: India, Indochina, and Malaysia.

Vernacular Names

  • Hindi: Moraiyo, Kutki, Shavan.
  • Bengali: Sama.
  • Tamil: Samai.
  • Gujarati: Gajro, Kuri.
  • Telugu: Samalu.
  • Marathi: Sava, Halvi, Vari.
  • Oriya: Suan.
  • Kannada: Saame (ಸಾಮೆ).
  • Malayalam: Chama (ചാമ).


The Little millet or samai in reality is large in nutrition. Finger millet is the richest source of calcium (300-350 mg/100 g) and other small millets are a good source of phosphorous and iron. The protein content ranges from 7 to 12% and fat content from 1 to 5.0%. The millet protein has a well-balanced amino acid profile and a good source of methionine, cystine, and lycine. These essential amino acids are of special benefit to those who depend on plant food for their protein nourishment. The millet grain contains about 65% carbohydrate, a high proportion of which is in the form of non-starchy polysaccharides and dietary fiber. Finger Millet grains are also rich in important vitamins viz., Thiamine, riboflavin, folic, and niacin.

Benefits of Samai

  1. Among cereals, Samai has been found to have the highest amount of fiber. Its crude fiber content is nearly twice that of other cereals.
  2. Samai is rich in phenolic compounds that show antioxidant activity.
  3. This millet is an excellent source of Iron. One serving (30 g) can provide 16% of the daily iron needs for an adult man.
  4. Like other millets, Samai is also gluten-free. It makes up for the lack of wholegrain fiber in Celiac (gluten-free) diets.
  5. Samai has a low to medium glycaemic index thus is diabetic friendly.
  6. It is a rich source of the essential amino acids Histidine, Methionine, and Phenylalanine.

Recipe- Samai Ven Pongal

Here is a delicious recipe of samai ven Pongal which is delicious and healthy. Bonus points: it only takes minutes to prepare!

Ingredients (3-serving)

  • 1 cup millet Little / Samai
  • 1/2 cup moong dal Split
  • 3 cups Water
  • 10 Cashewnuts
  • 2 tsp Ginger
  • 2 nos green chilies
  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds
  • ts ½ Peppercorns
  • pinch Hing
  • 2 Curry leaves – stalks
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • to taste Salt


  1. Pressure cook the millet and dal with 3 cups of water till they are mushy.
  2. Add the required amount of salt to the millet dal mixture. Cook for one whistle and let it cook in that steam itself.
  3. In a pan add the ghee and oil and heat it. Add the tempering ingredients
  4. And roast them till the cashews turn golden brown and the curry leaves are crispy
  5. Switch off the flame add these tempered ingredients to the rice dal mixture.
  6. Garnish with few curry leaves and serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar. Tasty Samai Ven Pongal is ready to be served with ghee on top.

References: Link1 | Link2 | Link3 

Follow us on Social Media for updates on latest articles and events! 
Was this article helpful? Then, please hit the like button. And let us know about your review in comment section.

You May Also Like

Recent Posts
Series Navigation<< Ragi (Finger Millet)- Nutrition, Benefits and RecipeThinai (Foxtail Millet)- Nutrition, Benefits and Recipe >>